A housing association has backed down over plans to charge Arbroath householders hundreds of pounds each to repair paths around their homes.
Residents of Rowan Path on the town’s Westway were furious when letters dropped onto their doormats from Hillcrest Housing Association demanding £168 for fixing the crumbling pavements.
Almost 300 people were asked to pay for the tarring, but vowed to fight the demand and called a protest meeting involving Arbroath West and Letham councillor Richard Moore.
The residents had previously been sent a letter saying the resurfacing was going to take place – with no mention of being asked to cough up.
The association has now said sorry for the handling of the repair project, and confirmed residents will not be billed.
“We are sorry that we didn’t communicate much clearer with owners over these works,” said Hillcrest in a letter to locals.
“Following receipt of additional legal advice we have reviewed our proposal and decided not to charge any owner for a share of these costs.
“The legal advice that we received was that the maintenance, repair and when necessary renewal of any unadopted road, footpath and layby in the estate is the responsibility of all owners of properties within the estate.
“However, Hillcrest Housing Association does not own a majority of the properties within the estate, and on this occasion we did not seek the consent of a majority of owners before carrying out the re-surfacing works.
“This means that we are unable to enforce the recovery of payment from owners,” added the association.
“There have been comments raised about the quality of the surfacing works in some areas. There is a guarantee on the workmanship and materials used, and we will be inspecting again before the end of this guarantee period.
“Any defects found during this inspection will be made good by the contractor at their own expense.”
“We are sorry for any inconvenience or distress that this may have caused you. We will continue to maintain the estate’s landscaped areas in accordance with the 2012 agreement.
“Any works that are identified to us, which are outwith the landscaping remit, we will contact all owners within the estate to determine whether a majority of owners consent to progress.”
Councillor Richard Moore said he was “delighted” Hillcrest had agreed to withdraw the charge.
He added: “I thought it was a little out of order to be telling people they were going to be charging them months after the work was done.
“I’m delighted they have agreed to withdraw it and I’m hoping that we can move forward in the future.”